Deriving their name from the long Oklahoma roads that they call home, The Turnpike Troubadours bring Goodbye Normal Street to the table as a follow-up to their debut, Bossier City; a testament to their roots. The five-piece group consisting of RC Edwards, Ryan Engleman, Kyle Nix, Evan Felker, and Gabe Pearson mix elements of bluegrass, folk, country and other styles, as well as their upbringings in dancehalls and such to mesh their music to their needs, bringing great energy and heart into the songs on the disc.
Immediately from the start, you can tell these guys are country boys, opening up with the great banjo and throaty vocals of “Gin, Smoke, Lies.” The song continues with a message of betrayal along with great guitars. The album is loaded with solid yet ordinary country tracks, like “Before The Devil Knows We’re Dead” and “Good Lord Lorrie” with their great storytelling, fiddle and even flashing a little harmonica in there. The energy is contagious in the faster-paced, fun songs like “Blue Star,” “Southeastern Son,” and “Morgan Street,” and the great guitars only bolster the tracks.
The atmosphere takes a turn on the second half of the disc, as the songs begin to be more focused on loss—whether it’s of a woman or something else. That being said, what those tracks lack in energy, they make up for in emotion, most notably on “Wrecked” and “Gone Gone Gone.” “Empty As A Drum” follows a similar tune, even if it’s depressing at points, but the passion and especially the guitar are absolutely beautiful.
The whole disc takes the listener through a rollercoaster of emotions. Whether it’s fast and fun-loving or the pain of losing someone, all of it can be immediately felt while going through all the tracks. The passion on this record is palpable.